For some players, The Wolf Among Us acts as an introduction to the world of DC Vertigo's Fables. As such, they're probably wondering how these characters that they've grown up with have gotten to be where they are at the time of this story. Some might be a bit confused as to why the Big Bad Wolf is suddenly a law-abiding sheriff or what this "Farm" is that he speaks of.
As a fan of Bill Willingham's ongoing series, I noticed many of the nods the first episode, "Faith," made to the source material. And just because Telltale's take on the world is set 20 years before the first issue, it doesn't mean that the comics don't feature hints as to what could happen next. So for those that have never picked up an issue of Fables, here are some of the characters that you'll familiarize yourself with over the course of Telltale's five episode series.
Yes, this is indeed the Big Bad Wolf you've read about as a child. He's the guy who ate Red Riding Hood's grandmother and he's the guy who huffed and puffed and blew houses in. So how in the world did he become the Sheriff of Fabletown?
The answer has to do with why the Fables are in our world in the first place. At the time of The Wolf Among Us and throughout the first hundred or so issues of the comics, the fairy tale Homelands are under siege by a mysterious villain called the Adversary. Not many Fables were lucky enough to escape him and his armies, but the ones that did managed to get out thanks, in large part, to the efforts of Bigby Wolf. Bigby not only fended off many of the Adversary's forces, but his heightened senses also made sure to flush out any magically-concealed spies.
Because of his heroic efforts and through the Fabletown Charter's General Amnesty provision, Bigby was allowed to start a new life and was quickly named Sheriff of Fabletown, where he continues to use his extraordinary senses as a grizzled detective. He's still a bit of a jerk, as players might notice through his encounters with Mr. Toad. And despite honorable intentions, other residents of Fabletown aren't too keen on one of the worst villains in fairy tales suddenly getting a position of authority.
That's not to say that Bigby isn't trying his best to craft a new reputation. Beyond acting as Fabletown's symbol of order, he's also opened his home to Colin, the pig with the house made of straw. Rather than ship him off to the Farm, Bigby has taken the pig in as his secret roommate, making a one-time exception to the rule that all non-human Fables must be exiled from Fabletown.
Being the central character of The Wolf Among Us puts Bigby in a unique position, as it's ultimately up to the player to determine where his character goes next. They can build him up as the hard-nosed avenger with a heart of gold or their choices can shape him into the unrepentent monster that you read about in fairy tales.
Snow White is Deputy Mayor during the first issue of Fables, but The Wolf Among Us sees her as the Deputy Mayor's assistant. A strong, confident woman in the comics, Snow is anything but that during the first episode of The Wolf Among Us, as she's mostly seen assisting Ichabod Crane and tagging along with Bigby during his investigation.
Long divorced from Prince Charming, Snow is a much sweeter figure in Telltale's game. This is evidenced by her own interactions with Mr. Toad and his family. There's also a bit of a romantic tension on display between herself and Bigby, a relationship that's explored in greater depth in the comics.
Something clearly changes Snow to turn her from the gentle character she is in The Wolf Among Us to the far-more assertive figure that she becomes in the comics. The first issues explain that her heart's been hardened from years of betrayal, but her time with Ichabod Crane (see below) may point to a particular catalyst. Oh, and the cliffhanger to the first episode of "The Wolf Among Us" might have something to do with it, too.
Bigby's treatment of Colin shows a strong desire to atone for his past
Bluebeard is one of the world's more notorious Fables, having made his name as a serial killer. He's also one of the richest, as he somehow managed to escape the Homelands with all of his wealth. The Great Amnestry provision from the Fabletown Charter ensures that he will not pay for his crimes, though he remains constantly under suspicion that he'll eventually succumb to his baser instincts.
Given his history, it's no wonder that Bigby names Bluebeard among his prime suspects in The Wolf Among Us. Bluebeard's modus operandi is that he marries women and murders them in horrific fashion, stuffing them in a forbidden room and helping himself to their wealth.
His future in The Wolf Among Us is uncertain, as he's completely absent from the first episode. But you can bet he'll be a major figure in future installments.
Beauty and the Beast
Bigby will bump into both Beauty and the Beast at various points in "Faith," and players may notice that not all is quite right with them. Let's just say that their marriage didn't quite end with the routine "happily ever after" that you might expect.
During the first issue of Fables, readers will find both Beauty and the Beast in the middle of marriage counseling. The Beast is still under the fairy's curse that says his ugliness would remain until he found a true love that would care for him in spite of his appearance. Of course, now that Beauty's practically on the outs with her husband, the curse is starting to rear its ugly head again.
The Wolf Among Us potentially sets up the marriage counseling session from the first issue of the comic. Beauty and the Beast clearly aren't on the same page and are keeping secrets from one another, but the nature of their conflict is never divulged in that first issue, other than that they've simply been together for too many years.
Likewise, it's too early to tell what the conflict between Beauty and the Beast will consist of in The Wolf Among Us. But if the fairy's curse does start to creep up again, look for the Beast to live up to his name (both literally and figuratively) in upcoming episodes.
Snow White is far gentler here than she is as the sassy Deputy Mayor of the comics
Ichabod Crane is the Deputy Mayor at the time of The Wolf Among Us and isn't a particularly popular person in Fabletown. He's an authoritative figurehead more concerned with his own image, ambition, and slovenly pleasures than anything else, something both Bigby and Snow figured out long before the events of the game.
Crane served in his position for about 150 years, but is noticeably out of power at the time of the comics. He makes one lone appearance in Fables, but he provides a major hint as to where the next episodes of Telltale's story may be going. Crane notes that a scandal ultimately brought him down, but remained intentionally vague on the details. He only briefly alluded to a sexual harassment claim from Snow White, as well as accusations of embezzlement.
If Crane's sole appearance in the comics is any indication, The Wolf Among Us may dive into the embezzlement allegations that ultimately brought him down and led to Snow's promotion. If this is the case, don't rule out that Crane has some other sinister hand in the game's overarching plot.
The marital strife between Beauty and the Beast will only grow over the course of the game
The Wolf Among Us is out now on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. For more, check out our review of the first episode.
Despite his position, Ichabod Crane is not one of the good guys